Evoking Summer

Last weekend was Memorial Day here in the states, which means:
  1. It was the perfect time to thank all the men and women in the military, and their families
  2. It was the unofficial start of summer!!
That got me thinking about the seasons and how to capture them when describing our settings on the page.
We all know summer is more than just words or phrases like green trees, bright sun and warm temperatures. It’s a mood, an emotion, an essence. Fun-filled memories and nostalgia for long, lazy days off of school.
My favorite examples of evoking summer are the Pure Michigan radio ads. Those of you in the Midwest might already be sick of them (they’ve run the last several summers), but for those who have never heard them before, you’re in for a treat.
I fully admit to getting sappy every time these ads come on the radio!
Listen to the tone, the rhythm of the words. The campaign uses wonderful lyrical imagery: a tea party  that served only lake water; climbing tall castles of light. Immediately, an image of a moment jumps into our minds, and we’re pulled into the scene. That’s what we should aim for in our written work, too.
Enjoy and happy early summer!


  1. Hey,

    Thanks for the comments re the baby - and for the Memorial Day post (I'm starting to call them "stories" and "features" but I have to remember I'm not working for the Daily Yazoo anymore :)

    PS.... Appreciate that you "got" where I was coming from re. the two soldiers.... it was so sad revisiting those memories and I'm only some guy...can't imagine what the family is feeling...

  2. I remember trying to edit snow scenes last summer in 113F heat ^^;

    You're right - there is more to summer than sunlight and warmth. It's the smells and the long day and how happy everyone seems to be because the cold and rain have gone... Or is that just the UK? ;)

  3. Great post. I don't really pay enough attention to what season it is in my writing. I guess I should!

  4. Summer comes with mixed feelings for me. I like that it's bright and sunny all day--the world seems awake when I'm setting off for work, and it's still bright eyed as I'm coming home. I like that it's no longer cold, and the house will be warmer. Everything takes on a relaxed, laid-back attitude. But it gets so stinking hot around here--and humid! Cranking the A/C, trying not to dehydrate, or drown in sweat, feeling sapped of energy. These are not fun.

    But this is good to consider for my fiction. :)

  5. This is the second time in one day someone has referenced these Michigan summer ads. My sis in law is planning their summer vacation and they're going through MI. She said she's wanted to go there since hearing the ads.

    Who knew? Advertising works! :)

  6. Those are great! And yes, there's something about the seasons and how you can use them to set mood.

  7. This will be the first summer with my laptop...so I can do my writing and blogging outside. Those definitely were some feel good videos. I must say though that when I lived in Michigan I never once visited the beach. Now I wish I had.

  8. Woot! Michigan! I'm a born 'n' raised Michigander (now living just across the line in Indiana), so I have to like these ads. It's in the contract. BTW -- the voice is Tim Allen (Tim Taylor from "Home Improvement" and Buzz Lightyear in "Toy Story"). He spent much of his life in Michigan.

    Also: I've awarded you TWO blogging awards: The "Stylish Blogger" award and the "Versatile Blogger" award. Hope you don't already have them or mind that I'm swamping you with awards, lol! Visit my blog for the scoop. ;^)

  9. Great videos, and I see what you mean about how they invoke summer. :)

  10. So true. Our writing should invoke what we are trying to describe, rather than tell. :-)